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Several months ago I met one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller. He was visiting Austin, and Alyssa and I decided to go hear him speak. During the Q&A afterwords, he talked about his daily routine. He said that every morning he wakes up and writes in his journal. The very first thing he writes is “My mission in life is to help people live a better story.”
I thought it was beautiful.
If you don’t know who Donald Miller is, he is an author and founder of Storyline, a conference, book, and online platform focused on helping people live a better story in their business and life. Its literally his life mission to help people live a better story. He also mentioned that after writing in his journal he would look at his agenda for the day. If anything on his to-do list didn’t match up with that mission, he would take it off the list. He said that if he spends time doing things that aren’t aligned with his mission, it’s confusing to him as a person.
There is no denying that a mission centered life creates clarity, but what are some practical ways we can create a life based on mission? Here are five practical ways I’ve found a way to incorporate mission into my own life. I hope they can also be helpful for you.
1. If you don’t have a mission statement for your life, make one today.
Your mission statement doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to exist. Writing down the wrong mission statement and adjusting later is a quicker route than never writing one down in the first place (which is what most people do). Most of the time you aren’t going to have a life altering epiphany in the shower where you suddenly know what your life is meant to be about. If you do, that’s great. But I would suggest being proactive and coming up with a mission statement today that you can begin working into your life.
This is my mission statement:
Be a light for others, and to live a life that inspires people to challenge the status quo.
2. Write it down every morning.
I try to do this every day. I’m not perfect, but the days where I actually write it down I feel so much more on target with everything I do. It helps me to say no or yes to situations more easily. My day is more purposeful, and filled with intent. It’s such a small thing to do, but can make all the difference in the world.
3. Make your agenda based on your mission.
Be stubborn about this one and don’t allow non mission actions to enter your life. If you say, “well just this one time,” it will snowball. Instead, be headstrong and only do actions that align with your life mission. This also trickles down to the people you hang out with. If there is someone in your life that is pulling you away from your mission, let them go.
4. Realize mission statements are for everyday interactions, not just big projects.
My head is always in the clouds. A big portion of my life I struggled with only wanting to do really big things. I’ve wanted to start billion dollar companies and only write words that go into a New York Time Best Seller. At one point I bought into the lie that said mission statements are only valuable if they are being used to create big companies and write stellar books. That’s a lie. A bold faced lie.
Mission statements are more important in every day life than they are for companies who write them on the wall. Why? Because a company can “have a mission” but if the people are crooked, it doesn’t make a difference. Practice working your mission into every part of your life.
5. Don’t be afraid to edit your statement.
For years I put off writing a mission statement for my life. I was scared that I might write down the wrong statement and forever live a life that wasn’t true to Heath Padgett. Instead of creating a mission, I drifted through life without seeking clarity. I now have found a better way to go about crafting a life based on mission, and it’s to write down the best mission statement possible, today. When the time comes and you change and grow, then by all means edit your mission to reflect the new person you’ve become.
Life throws us hard decisions and curvy paths. One small way we can stay prepared is to constantly have a mission to fall back upon. You don’t have to share your mission publicly, living it outwardly is quite enough.
Living a mission centered life means making decisions based on the end game, it means always seeing the bigger picture.
What’s going to be your mission statement? If you’re up for the challenge,[stag_button url=”https://twitter.com/heathpadgett” style=”light-blue” size=”small” type=”normal” target=”_self” icon=”twitter-square” icon_order=”before”]tweet your mission statement at me.[/stag_button] I would love to hear what you have to say!